Republicans Confident After Convention

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (l) and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Aug. 30, 2012.Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (l) and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Aug. 30, 2012.
x
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (l) and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Aug. 30, 2012.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (l) and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Aug. 30, 2012.
TAMPA — U.S. Republicans hope their national convention this week in Florida will give presidential candidate Mitt Romney a major boost in what is expected to be a closely fought election campaign between now and November 6.  

Mother Nature threw the Republicans off-message at the start of their convention as Tropical Storm Isaac made its way into the Gulf of Mexico.

But the convention mood improved as the week went on, says Florida Congressman Dennis Ross.

"We started off Monday canceling the convention," said Ross. "We watched what happened and as the weather gets better the convention gets better, so I think we are going to see some momentum leaving here and we will ride a wave in the next 68 days and have a new president come November."

Unlike the past when U.S. party conventions actually chose presidential candidates, the modern convention aims to present the presidential nominee to a national audience and lay out the key themes of his campaign message.

That's especially important this year for Mitt Romney.  Mr. Romney is seen as less likeable than his opponent after months of attack ads, first from his conservative rivals in the Republican primaries and later from President Barack Obama's Democratic Party.

It was clear talking to delegates in Tampa that many Republicans still are motivated more by the goal of defeating Mr. Obama than by any love for Mr. Romney as a conservative leader.

Mark Shields is a syndicated columnist and a political analyst on the Newshour program on the Public Broadcasting System.

"The organizing principle of the Republican Party in 2012 is to defeat Barack Obama," said Shields. "It isn't necessarily adulation or an emotional connection with Mitt Romney."

Party leaders say they are confident their convention helped to build party unity, even if some delegates remain less than enthusiastic about Mr. Romney.

Senator Jon Kyl is a veteran Republican from Arizona.

"Look, he's not Ronald Reagan," said Kyl. "Who else is?  He does have the party unified.  He brings a lot of strengths to the top of the ticket.  And most of all, he will be seen as a person who is a very good man who has a great capability to fix what's wrong, and boy does this country need somebody like that now who understands what it takes.”

Some of those strains may have been eased when Mr. Romney chose Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, says conservative radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock.

"Romney has been all over the board on some issues," said Hedgecock. "Right now his platform is fantastic from a conservative point of view.  And Paul Ryan as a [vice presidential] selection, which is the first decision that the nominee Mitt Romney made, is a terrific decision, which has excited the conservative base a lot."

A familiar voice in that conservative base is commentator Ann Coulter.  She is warning Republicans to brace themselves for a fresh wave of attacks from Democrats.

"That is the only way they campaign against us by trying to make our candidates look stupid or scary, and you cannot make Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan look stupid or scary," said Coulter.

But analyst Mark Shields says Mr. Romney will need to find a way to connect with voters in a more personal way if he hopes to win the White House in November.

"We know that the failures of presidents over the past half century have been failures not of intellect, not of experience, but failures of personality or character," he said. "Personality in the case of Jimmy Carter, I think it's fair to say.  Character certainly in the case of Richard Nixon.  So they want somebody they are comfortable with.  They want to be sure and they want to be sure especially in 2012 that this is somebody who understands what I'm going through."

The Democrats get their turn beginning Monday when they gather in Charlotte, North Carolina, for their convention to nominate President Obama for a second four-year term.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs